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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding the Assessment Appeals Process

 

Please note:  The California State Board of Equalization has prepared a manual titled Publication 30, Residential Property Assessment Appeals to assist you in completing the Assessment Appeal application form. You may download a copy at www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/asmappeal.htm or from the Clerk of the Board's website at www.sccgov.org/assessmentappeals. Important reference material regarding Value Hearing Officers, California Code of Regulations, and various other request forms can be found on those websites.

INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS or APPLICATIONS FILLED OUT INCORRECTLY WILL RESULT IN A DELAY OF THE APPEAL PROCESS and/or YOUR APPEAL COULD BE CLOSED.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Is there a charge for filing an appeal?
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No. Effective November 16, 2015 Santa Clara County does not charge a fee to file an Assessment Appeal Application.

Is the processing fee refundable?
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No. Processing fees paid to file an appeal prior to November 16, 2015 are not refundable.  All appeals filed (or postmarked) prior to November 16, 2015 require a non-refundable processing fee.

Do I need an agent or an attorney?
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We cannot advise you on hiring an agent or attorney.  You (or an agent or attorney you authorize) on the application, will have to appear at a hearing to state your case, or else your appeal will be denied because of non-appearance.  You may attend any hearing to see what the process entails.  If you hire an agent/attorney after you have already filed an appeal, you must complete the Agent or Attorney Authorization/Substitution/Revocation Form or contact the Office of the Clerk of the Board, Assessment Appeals Unit immediately at (408) 299-5088.
If I own residential property, am I required to provide an Assessor’s Account Number or an Unsecured Assessment Number?
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No.  A residential property homeowner will only have an Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN). An Assessor’s Account Number or an Unsecured Assessment Number refers to businesses, commercial property, aircraft, mobile homes, etc.  Please refer to the notice you are attempting to appeal for the property identification number.
Regarding item #4A on the application, what is the value on the roll?
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This refers to the Assessed Value (Reappraisal Value) as it appears on your assessment notice. This is the Assessed Value per the Assessor's Office. The values in item 4A must match the assessed values exactly as they appear on your notice.  Do not include the homeowner or other exemption values.

There were absolutely no Improvements made on my property. Why are Improvements being assessed?
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Improvements (real property) refers to any/all existing structures on the land.

Regarding item #5 on the application, which assessment am I appealing?
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You should check Regular Assessment if you are appealing the market value as of the preceding January 1st.  The filing period for the Regular Assessment is between July 2nd and September 15th every year.  You should check Supplemental Assessment if you received a Supplemental Notice, or Roll Change/Escape Assessment (if you have received a Roll Change or Escape Enrollment Notice).  You have 60 days in which to file an appeal based on the date of your Supplemental Notice, or Escape Enrollment Notice.

Regarding item #6 on the application, can I check more than one item?
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Yes, you may check as many items as you believe will support your request for a reduction in assessment. Read the instructions for completing the assessment appeal application in their entirety. Publication 30 (attached below) also has information about the different types of residential property assessment appeals.

What are the Written Findings of Facts?
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The Written Findings of Facts is a written legal document that explains the Assessment Appeals Board’s or Hearing Officer’s decision on your appeal.  Written Findings of Facts may be requested at any time prior to the commencement of the hearing.  A deposit of $400 (check only) must be submitted to the Office of the County Counsel prior to the commencement of the hearing.  If preparation of the Written Findings of Facts requires more than two hours, an additional charge will be made for each hour thereafter.  An applicant who has requested Written Findings of Facts on the application may later rescind this request any time prior to the conclusion of their individual hearing.  Applicants may not receive Written Findings of Facts until the costs are paid in full.  Please make checks payable to the COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA.
What documents should I attach to the application to support my requested changes in the assessment?
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Any information you feel supports your request to have the assessment reduced may be attached.  You may include sales data for properties that are comparable to yours that were sold (close of escrow) prior to or within 90 days of the valuation date, photos, and anything you believe supports your claim as to the value of your property.  When your appeal goes to a hearing, the only evidence the Appeals Board or Hearing Officer may consider is evidence that you present or submit at the hearing.

 
NOTE: By law, the Appeals Board or Value Hearing Officer may only consider comparable sales of properties that sold (close of escrow) no later than 90 days after the valuation date of the property you are appealing.

 

I submitted my application. What happens next?
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Provided your application is correctly completed, all submitted information is forwarded to the Assessor’s Office for review.  You will not hear from the Clerk of the Board’s Office until your appeal is scheduled for a hearing, at which time the Clerk’s office will mail you a hearing notice (approximately 45 days prior to your hearing date). The scheduling of a hearing could take up to two years from the original filing date.  Please read the hearing notice in its entirety as it contains important and time sensitive information that will require your immediate action.

Do I have to go to the hearing?
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Yes, you do. If you do not attend your scheduled hearing, your appeal will be denied for lack of appearance. However, you are not required to attend the hearing if you have reached an agreement (stipulation) with the Assessor's Office on the assessed value of your property.
What if I cannot attend my scheduled hearing?
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You may mail, fax, or email the completed Appeal Waiver/Postponement Response Form (included with your hearing notice).  Each party (you and the Assessor’s representative) has a right to a first postponement. Written request for first postponement must be received by the Clerk of the Board's office at least 21 days in advance of the scheduled hearing date.  Postponement request received subsequent to 21 days before the scheduled hearing by either the applicant or the Assessor’s representative must be mutually agreed upon between both parties, and submitted no later than 4 p.m., 7 days in advance of the scheduled hearing date.

NOTE:  A continuance may be requested directly from the Appeals Board or Hearing Officer at the hearing.
 
What should I expect at a hearing?
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All applicants are required to be present at 9:00 a.m. for roll call.  Appeals are usually called in order of the agenda.  Hearings are open to the public and are generally held in the Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium and Room 157, located on the first floor near the main entrance, at 70 West Hedding Street, San Jose.  A representative for the Assessor’s Office will be present.  You will state your request for a reduction of assessment; present your six copies of substantiating evidence (four copies for Hearing Officer hearing), and answer any questions the Appeals Board, Hearing Officers, or appraisers may have. The Appeals Board or Hearing Officer will make a decision, and you will be notified of the decision in writing approximately two weeks after your hearing.  The hearing may last until 5:00 p.m., so please plan accordingly.
My notification of assessed value for the annual assessment is based on comparable sales of properties used by the Assessor's Office. Should I come to the hearing prepared to challenge those comparable sales?
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If you file an assessment appeal, the Assessor’s representative will perform a new appraisal prior to a confirmed hearing.  The new appraisal may include some or all of the same comparable sales as those used for the Assessor’s original assessment, or the new appraisal could include an entirely new set of comparable sales.  Publication 30 (www.boe.ca.gov/proptaxes/asmappeal.htm) has information about admissible evidence and initiating a formal exchange of information with the Assessor’s Office.
Do I still have to pay my property taxes?
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Yes. Filing an assessment appeal application does not relieve you from the obligation to pay the taxes on the subject property by the deadline shown on your tax bill.
What if I win my appeal and my assessment is lowered and I paid the taxes already?
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You will receive a refund for any overpaid taxes plus interest on the overpaid amount for the year(s) you appealed.  Refunds are processed by the Tax Collector’s Office (408) 808-7979.
What if I lose my appeal?
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The decision by the Appeals Board or Hearing Officer is final.  The Appeals Board or Hearing Officer may not rehear or reconsider any appeal but you have the right to contest the Appeals Board’s or Hearing Officer’s decision in Superior Court.  If you check “YES” on Box 8 of the application, you will designate your application as the claim for refund; you are then able to file action in Superior Court.  If the application is not designated as a claim for refund (if Box 8 is marked as “NO” or blank) you must file a claim for refund of over-paid taxes with the Board of Supervisors within one (1) year after the Appeals Board or the Hearing Officer makes a final determination and the Clerk mails a notice of the decision. If you do not receive a decision from the Board of Supervisors within six (6) months, you may then file an appeal in Superior Court.
Last updated: 7/3/2019 11:20 AM